The wait is over. Blizzard has begun releasing news on World of Warcraft’s patch 4.3 to the slavering nerd masses, and boy, is there some big stuff here.
Ah dun been transmogrified:
Perhaps the biggest piece of news is the revelation of what that mysteriously leaked picture was. It is… exactly what we all thought it would be. Transmogrification is a new service that will allow players to make any piece of gear they have look like any other piece of gear they have–within certain limitations. The source item for transmogrification must be the same armor/weapon type as the item it is modifying, so no DKs in sundresses or mages dual wielding Ashkandi. The exceptions are guns, bows, and crossbows, which will all be interchangeable with each other. Also, disappointingly, you will not be able to transmogrify non-legendary weapons to look like legendaries, a decision which has crushed Illidan fanboys everywhere.
This decision has been met with an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. If you go to WoW’s official forum, a place normally reserved for endless whining and flame wars, the joy is palpable. In all honesty, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
For myself, I initially thought this idea was somewhat of a waste of time, but the more I think about it, the more I like it. My rogue can go back to her beloved VanCleef’s Battlegear and Liar’s Tongue, and my pally can be stylin’ with Lucky Old Sun and the Royal Crest of Lordaeron, though I will probably go with Quickening Blade of the Prince for my tank set. I am so glad I’m in the habit of hoarding old gear.
That said, it is a little disappointing to see weapons so restricted. I never really met a dagger I liked, and I’d prefer to make my rogue’s offhand weapon into a sword, axe, or fist weapon.
Stare into the void:
Another new feature for patch 4.3 closely related to transmogrification is the addition of void storage, an expanded bank that allows one to store large amounts of old gear and items–with a hefty gold fee attached to depositing and withdrawing gear.
This won’t affect nearly as many people as transmogrification, but it’s a nice feature for chronic packrats, and it does give us a place to put all our gear for transmogrification. Hopefully we won’t have to pay the withdrawal fee every time we want to use a piece of gear for transmogrification; otherwise, it could get quite irritating.
Death to Deathwing:
4.3 will also include a new raid tier, which will theoretically include the final battle with Deathwing. If true, this means that either Cataclysm is coming to an end much sooner than anyone outside of Blizzard could have anticipated, or that Deathwing will not be the expansion’s ultimate boss. They did something similar to this by letting people fight Illidan early in Burning Crusade, but if memory serves, even Blizzard admitted that was a poor decision, so it’s hard to see them doing it again.
It is worth noting that Blizzard has not categorically stated this is the patch in which we will kill Deathwing, though it is strongly implied by their wording. Personally, I wouldn’t be shocked if this turned to not be the patch where the fallen Earthwarder meets his end, but only time will tell.
4.3 is also confirmed to feature no less than three new five man dungeons. Dungeons are tied with quests for my favourite part of this game, so I’m very excited about this, especially since some are saying they will be the War of the Ancients Caverns of Time instance we’ve been hearing about since before Cataclysm’s launch.
WotA was originally slated to be a raid, but it may have been downgraded. This might disappoint some, but as a lore fan who doesn’t get to raid much, I jump for joy at the prospect.
Although come 4.3, raid accessibility may not be so much of a problem…
The Raid Finder:
The one final big piece of news to come out of 4.3 is the addition of a Raid Finder tool which will theoretically function much like the current Dungeon Finder tool. Little is known about the specifics of this feature at present, but it could change the game immeasurably.
In the past, I’ve tended to view a Raid Finder as a wonderful idea that would never work. My biggest complaint about WoW is and always has been that raids are too hard to access for the casual player.
I used to feel the same about dungeons, but the Dungeon Finder changed all that. I don’t care how much people hate on it, the DF revolutionized the game for the better for me. Dungeons went from a chore rarely embarked upon to one of my favourite parts of the game. I would have quit long ago if not for it.
But raids are a different beast from dungeons. They’re much harder and more complicated, and I always thought a Raid Finder would end in disaster. But lately, I’m not so sure. A lot of fans have come up with very good ideas for how to solve the potential problems of a Raid Finder–for example, have people queue for specific bosses instead of whole raids, allowing for raid compositions tailored to that specific boss.
Furthermore, I’m starting to wonder if dungeons and raids are really that different anymore. Dungeon fights are getting ever more complex and unforgiving, especially in the Troll dungeons of 4.1.
I honestly think Jin’do the PUGbreaker and High Priest Venoxis are as hard as many raid fights, and I might even go so far as to say that they might be harder than some of them–I’ve seen a lot more PUGs wipe on Jin’do than the faceroll that is post-4.2 Halfus Wyrmbreaker. Many groups suffered horribly on these bosses for weeks, but experience and gear levels have gone up, and now I can’t remember the last wipe I had on either of them. The Dungeon Finder community rose to the challenge, and I can’t help but wonder if the same thing might not happen with a Raid Finder–it’s a horror show at first, but eventually, people learn the fights and begin to waltz through them.
In fact, if I might put on my tinfoil hat for a moment, I can’t help but wonder if Jin’do was a test to see if random PUGs could handle the challenges a Raid Finder would throw at them.
Again, only time will tell, but I’m cautiously optimistic about this Raid Finder.
Void storage: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/3342240